Tuesday 1 November 2011

The good and the bad

I have read a tremendous amount recently, shall be adding the books by and by, as must get back to my own writing.

At the moment am re-reading Julian Barnes' prize-winning The Sense of an Ending.  The main feeling at the end of the first reading was of something incomplete. Everyone else seems to have understood the book without difficulty, but I did not, though I consider myself to be a careful reader. I have  missed something, so started again. It is not unpleasant to do so. To say that JB writes well would be an understatement.

I received The Parihaka Woman as a gift. The author is Witi Ihimaera. The review in the Dominion Post was positive.
I had to stop reading it somewhere in the middle - when an act was described so terrible and so cruel that I could hardly breathe. Until then, I'd managed to overcome my reluctance: this was due to what I perceive as an unevenness of style - quotes from other works and documents, dialogue between Maori written in English with a Maori inflexion. A sentimental flavour, two-dimensional characters. Off-putting.

I had wanted to read the book to know more about what happened at Parihaka. I don't know if that act actually happened or not. I don't know if the heroine truly existed or not. I am not happy with your book, Witi.

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